Believe it or not, there was a time between the “Star Wars” prequels and the ascent of Marvel Studios when people flocked to see big-budget, science-fiction action movies based on characters and plots no one had heard of before, including one that was written by a 16-year-old French kid.
On Aug. 13, Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services will host a free screening of 1997’s $263-million blockbuster “The Fifth Element” as part of their ongoing “Movies By Moonlight” film series. The outdoor show is scheduled to take place at 8:30 pm at Dudley Park.
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According to a news release from Leisure Services, the screening will take place in the earthen amphitheater adjacent to the restroom building near the Firefly Trail. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on, and all park rules will be enforced (dogs always on leash, no alcohol, no smoking and no grills or cooking).
There is no pre-registration required for the event. Patrons are invited to bicycle or walk to the viewing area, which is accessible from the Firefly Trail and Greenway Trail. Parking will be available at both Dudley Park parking lots (286 South Poplar St. and 1170 E. Broad St.).
Set in the 23rd century, “The Fifth Element” stars Bruce Willis as a cab driver whose life is plunged into nonstop chaos after he meets an alien with serious martial arts skills (Milla Jovovich, the star of all six “Resident Evil” movies) who is being pursued by an impeccably-dressed villain (Gary Oldman, “The Dark Knight Rises”).
French director Luc Besson (“The Professional,” “Lucy”) came up with the idea for the movie when he was just 16, but didn’t make it until he was in his late 30s. The supporting cast includes a fresh-from “Friday” Chris Tucker, and the costumes were designed by Jean Paul Gaultier.
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Sadly, many of the players from “The Fifth Element” have passed on in recent years, including Ian Holm, Luke Perry and Tucker’s “Friday” co-star Tommy “Tiny” Lister Jr., who played the forceful but steady President Lindberg. Willis retired from acting in March 2022 after being diagnosed with aphasia, which impairs speech and language cognition.
“The Fifth Element” runs 2 hours and 6 minutes and is rated PG-13 for violent shootouts involving futuristic weapons, infrequent profanity, mild non-sexual nudity and a brief implied sex scene.
For additional park information, visit www.accgov.com/dudley.